Italian athletes cultivate their passion for Chinese martial arts Xinhua
Luca Ghinolfi (R) trains his students at class in the "Center for the studies of Oriental Cultures" gymnasium in Lavagna, Italy, May 8, 2017. Ghinolfi, a retired bank manager at age of 75 now, has always been passionate about sports. After seeing a presentation of Chinese martial arts in Genova and meeting Yang Li, a visiting scholar from Beijing Sport University in 1984, he was fascinated by Chinese martial arts and had kept practising it for decades. According to Ghinolfi, he usually gets up early at 5:30 in the morning, then starts his daily routine with meditation and wushu practices. After lunch, he reads classic books about Chinese martial arts and prepares his training courses. "It's a continuous research," he said. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
LAVAGNA, Italy, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Simone Mangiante, 24, was in his training course at the "Center for the studies of Oriental Cultures" gymnasium when he told his experience about Chinese martial arts.
He won a gold medal in the 6th World Traditional Martial Arts (Wushu) Championship in Chizhou of China, 2014, among many competition titles.
"I remember very well the day I won the world championship," he recalled, during a break from training. "The night before I had a fever. My teacher called me from Lavagna, saying 'Don't worry. Sleep well. Let it be.' The next day I tried my best and succeeded. I was moved to tears."
Arianna Romano also recalled her exiting moments of martial arts competition. She showed some beautiful souvenirs gained from three world championships for the traditional Tai Chi Chuan, and two European Championships for the modern Tai Chi Chuan.
"I like Tai Chi because it is a complete Gong Fu,"she said with smiling. "Except for martial arts itself, Tai Chi includes also philosophy, culture and traditional Chinese medical science."
Both Simone and Arianna started practising Tai Chi from their childhood at this gymnasium in the tiny village of Lavagna, near the city of Genova, in northern Italian region of Liguria.
They were taught by the same master, Luca Ghinolfi, who founded the Center for the Studies of Oriental Cultures in 1972.
Ghinolfi, a retired bank manager at age of 75 now, has always been passionate about sports. He started practising martial arts (Wushu) in the 1970's. He used to break a record in the weight lifting, to get a black belt in judo and karate, and also practised yoga and zen. Anyway, he loves Gong Fu.
After seeing a presentation of Chinese martial arts in Genova and meeting Yang Li, a visiting scholar from Beijing Sport University in 1984, he was fascinated by Chinese martial arts and had kept practising it for decades.
According to Ghinolfi, he usually gets up early at 5:30 in the morning, then starts his daily routine with meditation and wushu practices. After lunch, he reads classic books about Chinese martial arts and prepares his training courses. "It's a continuous research," he said.
Ghinolfi has several Chinese masters who has taught him Gong Fu such as Yang Li, Yu Yongnian and Wu Dong. "Father Yu Yongnian treated me as a family member. As the old saying in China goes: once a teacher, always a father, so I always call Yu Yongnian father," Ghinolfi said.
Ghinolfi often went to Yu's home when in China. They practised Tai Chi for an hour, after which Yu gestured and said softly but with power, "Ok. That's all for today."
At Yu's home, they often seated around a table, drinking Chinese tea with typical Chinese desserts. During that time, Yu explained Tao Te Ching, the Chinese classic regarded as fundamental text for both philosophical and religious Taoism.
"The sage does not accumulate (for himself). The more that he expends for others, the more does he possess of his own; the more that he gives to others, the more does he have himself. With all the sharpness of the Way of Heaven, it injures not; with all the doing in the way of the sage he does not strive," Ghinolfi read the 81st of Tao Te Ching, saying the reason influences himself so much.
"Be lenient with others. This piece of advice from Master Yu benefits my whole life," said Ghinolfi.
He didn't expect that all the masters taught him the quintessence of what they have. "I'll be a bridge, passing all the knowledge to the next generation."
Many years ago, Ghinolfi and other Italian Gong Fu lovers founded the Italian federation of Wu Shu and Kung Fu (FIWUK), they had many students all over the Italy.
Now Ghinolfi has around 180 students from 10 years of age to 88 at the Center for the studies of Oriental Cultures in Lavagna. Quite a few students won prizes and awards, among them are Arianna Romano, Simone Mangiante, Lori Sai, Fausto Capponi and Alessia Pomes.
"This summer I will go to Beijing Sport University to prepare for the world championships in Russia. I will train with Master Wu Dong." Simone said. "I think this will help me improve a lot."
"From Monday to Thursday I train every day for more than two hours. "Arianna says, "Master Ghinolfi has taught me all the basis since I was 14 years old. He is very experienced and possesses an infinite culture."
In Lavagna, young athletes, led by Ghinolfi, cultivate their passion for Chinese martial arts with constancy. "Master Ghinolfi is like a father for me," Simone said. He expressed a hope to continue practising Kung Fu as a lifetime hobby, and one day to become a teacher like Ghinolfi. "I like teaching children," he added.
Every Wednesday and Friday he helps Ghinolfi teach the kids. "Seeing their improvements and achievements in the years is a huge accomplishment for me," Simone smiles confidently.